Wet wet wet

The editorial team at n by Norwegian recently went to Svalbard (see here); easyJet Traveller’s Sarah Warwick went to Yorkshire. Nobody ever said life was fair. She knew she probably wasn’t going to like it – she’d been before on a school trip to Malham YHA, aged 11. It had left her with memories of a place that ponged faintly of baked beans and smelly socks, and which was all wet walkers and sodden sheep, where the only thing dry were the stone walls.

So when Yorkshire was named the best destination in Europe at the World Travel Awards last year, and adjudged the “third-best region in the world” (whatever that means) by Lonely Planet, obviously Sarah was going to have to go back.

Her account of encounters with Olympians, anorak-clad hikers and overly sensitive city councilors (“Every city has bad bits”) makes the drizzly but pointed front cover of this month’s magazine.

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(Posted by AndrewH)

Fah Thai, from front to back

When she took over at the helm of Fah Thai at the beginning of this year, Alexandra Karplus’ first job was to change the structure and flow of the magazine altogether. Since the upfront section of the magazine wasn’t working, she ditched it entirely. Instead, after contents, a “What’s hot?” list and three glorious dps photo spreads (see below), the May/June issue dives directly into the lavish photo-features that have always been the magazine’s strong point. The idea is that Fah Thai is like the coffeetable book of inflight magazines.

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Much of what was formerly upfront content – the news stories, Q&As, profiles and round-ups – has npw been moved to the back of book, where we have a new directory section, ‘The Guide’. This is divided by country/region, and content has been tagged to provide guidance to the readers. In the May-June issue, a Mumbai music guru tells us the best places to seek out indie music, a newly opened restaurant’s chef shares his inspiration behind the most popular dish and we catch up with a Singaporean bartender before he enters an international competition. The goal is to supply readers with a well-curated guide to each of our destinations, avoiding the more obvious picks and providing as many inspiring images as possible.

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(Posted by LizW)

Spy games

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Ever wanted to have a sack placed over your head and duct-taped tight by a stranger in a hotel room. Some people pay top money for the experience. Kinky? No, it’s part of a so-called Urban Escape and Evasion course, a training programme whose clients have included Navy SEALS and special ops forces, as well as regular folks like the journalist the Hemispheres editorial team sent along to attend two days of instruction before being kidnapped and then hunted as he made his way on foot across Los Angeles. Read the story here. (Posted by AndrewH)

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Best Svalbard issue ever?

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What do you get if you send two journalists, an art director, photographer and sales team to Svalbard for a week? A cover story with 30 pages-plus of editorial and lots of excellent ads – all in the May issue of N by Norwegian. It might seem a little singular to devote 30 pages to one destination, but then Svalbard is a unique and fascinating place and somewhere very few people have ever been (and are ever likely to go). There is a precedent here in magazines like Boat, which devotes each entire issue to one city – and Boat, incidentally, is one of the magazines featured in a story on the new independent travel mag scene that also runs in May’s N by Norwegian.

The 30 pages are not just one story, of course, but a multitude of stories. We are introduced to a cross-section of Svalbard residents including mariners, miners, hostel queens and the go-to guy for polar bears. We visit a Russian mining town that was abandoned in a single day in 1998; Spitsbergen’s northernmost cabin where fresh water comes courtesy of a nearby glacier; and discover a wasteland composed of the bones of 550 Beluga whales. We eat smoked whale and reindeer sausage, travel by dog sled and have a crafty fag in an old bus converted into a smoking room. It’s not just one destination, it’s a whole other world.

The magazine will be onboard all Norwegian flights from 1 May, and you will be able to read everything online at www.norwegian.com/magazine after that date, along with lots more material that didn’t make into the printed issue. Meanwhile here’s a sneak peek. (Posted by AndrewH)

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In praise of the big green C

Lovely dps in the forthcoming May issue of bThere, the magazine Ink publishes on behalf of Brussels Airline. It maps out all the places and institutions that feature in the following three pages of copy laying out Copenhagen’s enviable credentials to be the Green Capital of Europe 2014. This city seems to bring out the best in illustrators: see also here.

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The bThere illustration was done by Cork-based The Project Twins, whose excellent selfies are below, and commissioned by art director Marten Sealby.

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And a Happy Easter to all. (Posted by AndrewH)

Thomas Cookin’

The latest issue of Thomas Cook Travel has just gone to print and it has some excellent content, secured, I should point out, at great cost to sanity. Art director Dan di Paolo spent most of March becoming ever more manic as swathes of red tape confounded proposed scenario after scenario for photo shoots in Los Angeles, while being rendered ever more dumbfounded by the sheer financial rapaciousness of the city. How hard can it be to get Harry Potter (well, a lookalike) posing in a Hooters bar? The results, though, justify the pain.

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Also great fun, the animal-print shirt spread with non-standard models:

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I omitted to highlight it at the time, but the last issue of Thomas Cook Travel also had some very noteworthy stories. Editor Mike MacEacheran pulled off a triple whammy in securing phone interviews with not only Brandon Flowers of The Killers, but also Neyla Pekarek of The Lumineers and Albert Hammond Jr of The Strokes. Beat that NME. The very fine illustrations were by San Francisco-based Caitlin Kuhwald, who has done work for Rolling Stone, Penguin Books, GQ, Mother Jones and heaps more.

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And there was another tongue-in-cheek product shoot, in which regular Ink photographer Tim E White persuaded a bunch of Turkish fishermen to model inappropriate eyewear.

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Travelling with Thomas Cook has never seemed so cool. (Posted by AndrewH)

Cool covers

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I really like the cover of the current Let’s Go with Ryanair. It was done by illustrator Tim McDonagh to accompany a story on the explosion of New York businesses setting up sister venues in London. He also provided art for the story’s opening dps.

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Even better though is the cover for the next issue, a brilliant retro-illo by Bath-based Robert G Fresson that fronts a story promoting the fact that Ryanair flies to no less than four destination airports on Sicily.

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Both covers were commissioned by Ryanair art director and squash-king Jamie Trendall. (Posted by AndrewH)

The magazine at the top of the world

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The May issue of n by Norwegian is a Svalbard special. For this we relocated the whole team (editor, deputy editor, art director, photographer and and sales people) to the main town of Longyearbyen – the world’s northernmost permanent settlement – for a week, armed with a set of ‘n’ logos recreated in MDF (pic above). That’s our temporary office, below.
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It was an intense week of dog-sledding, snowmobiling to bizarre Russian mining towns, “researching” bars (tip: don’t drink the night before a snowmobile trip) and running around the place doing portraits. Photographer Tim White took more than 7,000 photos.
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We were completely blown away by the place, and not just for the reasons we expected. We went expecting it to be beautiful, and to provide lots of “Holy crap, we’re in the Arctic” moments (it did) – but we also expected that Longyearbyen would be a small town with a small town mentality. Actually, it’s a really vibrant place full of smart, interesting people, that really feels like it’s on the up. The university, UNIS, is doing world-leading research into everything from glaciology to climate change, and the vibe is MIT with tents and snowmobiles. Many of the restaurants, surprisingly, are world class, including Huset, with its 25,000 bottles of wine. Mary-Ann’s Polarriggen is one of the quirkiest hotels I’ve ever stayed in, with its wood-fired hot tub and mining bus turned smoking room, and many of the other hotels are top-end. But the main thing is the people – everyone we interviewed was obliging, passionate and smart. It’s not an easy place to live (there’s practically no healthcare, and everyone needs to have a job), so literally only the strongest survive.
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It really is an incredibly special place, on so many levels – we expected to have cabin fever after a week, but we didn’t want to leave. They call it the Arctic Bug – and we caught it. (Posted by Toby Skinner)

 

2 for 1 Smile

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After a month of redesigning the cover and the inside pages for Smile‘s April 2014 issue, we thought we’d make it extra special by running two different cover images to go with the main feature. And anyway, we loved northern Palawan so much we couldn’t decide what the highlight of the cover shoot was — on the one hand, there’s the rather surreal Calauit Island, where you’ll find 22 giraffes and a lot of zebras not at all endemic to the Philippines (we’ve had a camel on the cover, so we thought a giraffe or two would make a nice follow-though); and on the other, equally surreal lakes and seas, where several sunken Japanese wartime ships make for memorable wreck diving. We had two photographers at the shoot (there’s a running theme here), a husband-and-wife team, two shooting days, and what seemed like two million images to plough through when the shoot was done (lucky for us photo editor Jenny Penas always has her wits about her and knew exactly how to shorten the list).

Art director Marlon Espino dreamed up with the new cover look and worked with a Manila-based design duo, Inksurge, on the main cover screamer.

The two April covers, along with Smile‘s new look (thanks Marlon and Pete), debuted on all Cebu Pacific flights yesterday (and maybe in a newsstand somewhere in the Philippines a week later), or you can view it online here. Also, just for fun (and to make more friends on Facebook), our deputy editor and social media sergeant Kat Mateo is running a which-one-do-you-prefer poll here. Tell us your choice in the comments box, and maybe in two days we’ll include a personality interpretation.

Special shoutout to the wonder women of the production team, Helen and Sandy, who were able to swing this printing freebie. (Posted by Tara Sering)